Initially the plan was to open a coffee shop where avid readers of graphic novels could come, spend quality time with like-minded people and read these books and comics at ease.
This idea struck one of the three proprietors when he was asked to leave a city bookstore after he was found reading a graphic novel for longer than 30 minutes. “I saw a lot of people facing that issue, so we thought of opening a café. But that didn’t fit our budget,” says Utsa Shome, a lawyer. “So we decided to settle for an online library, where for a nominal price of Rs 1,500 per month, fans of graphic books can rent as many as novels as they want.”
Expanding the reach
The website called www.leapingwindows.com made its way into the niche market for graphic novels over six months ago. It currently has about 110 subscribed members and 2700 fans on its Facebook page. “It’s doing decently, but we haven’t marketed it properly. It’s just been word-of-mouth popularity for now,” says Shome, who is in the process of implementing a technique to expand the site’s reach. “We have a lot of books with adult content, which is why we could not allow anyone under the age of 18 to log in. But now, we’re revamping the website to allow kids to only see safe content.” Though they do organise events to showcase artists, comic illustrators and budding proprietors in association with Mocha Mojo, they plan on streamlining it even further. “We expect the numbers to grow more after the site is revamped,” he says adding that the business plan is currently flexible.
Subscription to the site costs Rs 1,500 for three months, Rs 2,500 for six months and Rs 4,500 for a year. Members can order unlimited number of books through the time period, but can only have one at a time. The novels will be delivered within 24 hours of ordering. Their international collection of over 1,500 graphic novels, which is updated as and when something new enters the market, has been sourced from various websites and stores around the country. “Some books were bought from www.flipkart.com and www.amazon.com . Others we own and procure from stores around the country. Some collectors are also involved,” says Shome, who along with Bidisha Basu, a teacher and Koel Chatterjee, a product designer, created the site.
Subscribe to the website to pick from a range of thousands of graphic novels at: www.leapingwindows.com